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Admitting You’re a Functioning Alcoholic

Posted on: October 12th, 2017 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Admitting You’re a Functioning Alcoholic

Recognizing your own issues with addiction is always hard but it can be especially complicated when you are very functional with your substance abuse. People who are high-functioning alcoholics often don’t show many of the signs normally associated with addiction because they have learned to handle their drinking in ways that makes it seem like it hardly affects them.

When someone is a functioning alcoholic, their friends and family may not be aware of the full extent of their drinking behavior. Functioning alcoholics can become very good at compartmentalizing their life and keeping their substance abuse separate from everything else. These types of alcoholics on the surface may seem like they have it all together, but eventually alcohol abuse will lead to negative consequences.

If you think you might be a functioning alcoholic your symptoms may differ from the usual list that characterizes a normal alcoholic. The average alcoholic usually realizes they need help when they hit rock bottom but a functioning addict may never reach that point. They might never lose their job, ruin a relationship or get in trouble with the police.

However, even high functioning alcoholics are not immune to the many physical and mental health problems associated with excessive drinking. Alcohol abuse can take its toll over time and cause problems with the liver, brain and heart. Drinking can also cause issues with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems that can interfere with your well-being.

Looking for Signs of Addiction

If you are wondering if your drinking is a problem you may have to look for less obvious signs to recognize your own addiction. As a functioning alcoholic it is much easier to stay in deep denial because your life isn’t falling apart around you as one might expect. You might even have a great job, make plenty of money and have lots of friends that don’t see you as an addict or ask you to quit drinking.

As a functioning alcohol however, you might still feel dependent on drinking to get through the day. If you drink in the morning or when you’re alone on a regular basis then you might have a problem. You also might end up getting drunk even when you don’t intend to or be unable to stop yourself from drinking.

Heavy drinkers and especially alcoholics tend to get “blackout” drunk meaning that they do things that they don’t remember or have no idea what happened while they drank. Even functioning alcoholics may make efforts to hide from their friends and family how much they actually drink. They may hide bottles of alcohol or lie about going to the bar in an effort to conceal their behavior.

Although most people can’t recognize a functioning alcoholic, there may still be some cases where someone asks about your drinking. If you find that you deny drinking even when you have or quickly get angry when someone confronts you about your alcohol consumption then this may be a sign of addiction.

Getting Help for a Drinking Problem

As a functioning alcoholic it can be difficult to admit to yourself and to others that you are suffering from an addiction. You may worry about the stigma associated with alcoholism and not want to tarnish your reputation at work or among friends. It can feel especially shameful to admit that you have a problem when people around you were completely unaware.

However, in order to recover from addiction it is important to go through the first step of admitting that you are an alcoholic. It helps you to acknowledge the fact that this problem is something that you can’t control and is a disease that you need help with. Sometimes being vulnerable and reaching out for help is the best way to start changing your behavior and getting started in recovery.

Once you are able to admit that you are a functioning alcoholic, the next step is to find a treatment plan that will work best for you. It is important to understand that even though you function well in your drinking, you still need treatment and cannot quit safely on your own.

Often functioning alcoholics can benefit from options like outpatient programs because it allows them to work and continue their normal life without having to take time away to stay at a facility. Since a functioning alcoholic usually has no problem with staying on track with work and responsibilities at home, outpatient can be a good fit for them.

Throughout treatment and even after completing a program it is a good idea to stay involved in support groups such as AA. Functioning alcoholics need a space where they can talk to others about their drinking and be more honest and open with other people instead of hiding their behavior. AA meetings are a safe place to discuss addiction and hear other people’s stories to learn more about how to cope with recovery.

Are Sleep Aid Remedies Addicting?

Posted on: October 10th, 2017 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Are Sleep Aid Remedies Addicting?

People that struggle with falling asleep know how much stress it can cause if they don’t find a solution. Insomnia is a serious issue that can affect your life in more ways than one. People who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis often have health issues and a number of other symptoms that can accompany their insomnia.

Some people might find that prescription sleeping pills can help them get over their sleep issues and provide relief from the myriad of problems that have developed because of their insomnia. However, typically these type of pills are meant to be a short-term solution. Long-term use of sleeping pills in many cases can lead to dependency although people with chronic insomnia may feel that they need to continue using their medication indefinitely.

Habit-Forming Medication

Many insomnia sufferers may wrongly assume that they can’t get addicted to sleeping pills and that using them on a regular basis is completely safe. The problem with prescription sleep medications such as Ambien, Lunesta or Sonata is that they can be psychologically habit forming. In many cases if the pill successfully induces sleep but if the patient’s medication is suddenly stopped for any reason then they will often display signs of dependency.

Anyone trying to stick with short term use of sleeping pills may find it difficult to get off their medication and will need to try to wean themselves off gradually. Suddenly quitting sleeping pills can give you an overwhelming desire to take them again and experience certain withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to quit. People that are struggling with a sleeping pill addiction may show certain signs such as:

  • Having several failed attempts to quit
  • Getting intense cravings for sleeping pills
  • Doctor shopping to get more prescription refills
  • Continuing to take pills in spite of negative consequences
  • Showing signs of memory loss from the medication

Sleeping Pill Abuse and Dependency

When someone develops an addiction to sleeping pills they may be abusing the medication and taking much higher doses than is recommended by the doctor. This could be because they have developed a tolerance and still have trouble falling asleep on their usual dose. They may also get addicted to relaxed feeling they experience when they take pills like Ambien and begin to abuse them.

People who abuse sleeping pills may take them at times when they are not using them specifically to help them sleep. This type of abuse can cause people to behave differently and and can impair their ability to function normally. Some signs of sleeping pill abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Inability to focus or pay attention
  • Stumbling or walking with an unsteady gait
  • Issues with memory loss
  • Unusual states of euphoria

If someone you know has been taking sleeping pills to help with their sleep issues but they seem to have unusual behavior during the day then they might be abusing their prescription. There are a lot of dangers associated with taking high doses of sleeping pills. Abuse of sleep medication can lead to issues such as depressed breathing and even seizures in some cases.

People who abuse sleeping pills can also experience side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, lightheadedness and fatigue. Using sleeping pills over a long period of time can intensify these symptoms. In some cases their dependency can cause issues like symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Anyone who has been abusing sleeping medication and is showing signs of addiction needs to get treatment and recovery help. Abusers need to go through detox so that they can rid themselves of their chemical dependency and then cope with their psychological dependence on the medication as well. Former addicts may end up suffering from rebound insomnia but it can be managed with professional medical treatment.

Avoiding Addiction for People with Insomnia

For those who struggle with sleep issues but want to prevent themselves from getting addicted it is best to limit prescription use and keep it as a short term solution. What many people don’t realize about their sleep issues is that there is often an underlying problem causing their insomnia which is treatable. Once you discover what causes your insomnia you can limit and eventually do away with medication.

What can often cause insomnia are issues such as built up stress, depression and anxiety, poor diet, lack of exercise and even over consumption of caffeine or alcohol. It is important to try different options such as eating healthier, getting more exercise and natural sunlight exposure, as well as using relaxation techniques to avoid becoming dependent on medication. Often changing your lifestyle is the most effective way to improve your ability to sleep.

Sleeping pills can be effective but only for a certain period of time. Natural sleep remedies and solutions can provide more consistent results and prevent any issues of abuse or dependency.

Transgender Community Turn to Substance Abuse to Cope

Posted on: September 28th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Transgender Community Turn to Substance Abuse to Cope

Although recent progress in the transgender community has made the group more visible and accepted in the public eye there are still many issues that they face. Transgender people still struggle with the stress of being a minority group and they tend to have higher rates of addiction as a result of that. Substance abuse tends to be a health problem in the LGBT community but transgender individuals have even greater risk factors than their peers.

Although transgender people are recognized with legal rights and protection in the U.S. they are still routinely denied rights in local communities in terms of employment, marriage, housing and healthcare. Because of their lingering status as outsiders, the transgender population has much higher rates of depression and mental illness than the rest of the country. Transgender people experience a greater amount of “minority stress” which contributes to problems such as mental disorders and substance abuse.

Minority stress is a theory that claims health disparities in minority communities exist due to stressors induced by a more dominant culture. For transgender people it can be difficult to live in a culture that is predominantly heterosexual and feel they are under pressure to conform to certain gender identities. They are often victims of discrimination, victimization, harassment and maltreatment that can all contribute to health problems in their community.

Dealing with Stigma and Harassment

In spite of a growing movement to change attitudes about transgender people and their choices, there remains a great stigma surrounding the idea of transgender. A number of anti-trans bills were passed in certain states banning transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. Many of these bills were created because of the misguided belief that it would allow dangerous men and pedophiles to enter women’s bathrooms and engage in sexual assault.

In spite of no real statistical evidence of violence to back up these laws, anti-trans bills seek to alienate and further stigmatize transgender people. Ironically, trans people are actually the ones that end up experiencing violence when using the bathroom that aligns with their biological gender. When a man that looks feminine is forced to use the men’s room they may be harassed and abused.

With the controversy surrounding their community they are often socially excluded and treated with contempt. The stigma surrounding trans identity can also make it difficult for trans people to get hired and find stable careers. Because of this problem, transgender people often end up getting involved in unsafe sex work and have higher rates of HIV and AIDS as a result.

Mental Health and Addiction

Because of the many challenges that transgender people face there is a very clear link to mental health and addiction issues that is stronger than any other community. People who are transgender often internalize the negative views that are cast on them in society. As they internalize the stigma they face they can develop issues with depression, anxiety and turn to substance abuse to ease their pain.

In the past transgender people were considered to have a mental illness in the form of “gender identity disorder”. This disorder was recently removed from the DSM as it is no longer considered a diagnosis in the same way that homosexuality was removed by the APA  in 1973. Instead the DSM describes an illness known as “gender dysphoria” which includes emotional distress due to “incongruence between one’s experienced gender and assigned gender”.

Unfortunately, many transgender people avoid getting treatment for mental health or addiction because of the stigma they face. They may expect to experience further scorn or intolerance in a treatment facility and fail to get the help that they need. It is important for transgender people to find a program that will accept them and offer them a safe place to recover.

Recovery for Transgender

Transgender people can find treatment programs that are LGBT-friendly in order to feel more comfortable. By entering treatment they will finally have the opportunity to talk with a therapist about many of the underlying issues and struggles that they face day to day. They may have considerable issues that contribute to their mental health and addiction problems but a treatment program can provide all the tools necessary to heal from the past.

In spite of all the negativity that they face in society, it is possible for transgender people to heal and learn to accept themselves. They can quit substance abuse and work with a treatment program’s employment services to find a safe and accepting place to work.

Whatever problems they have dealt with in the past, they can begin to move forward and live as a transgender person in a supportive environment. Getting involved in treatment and working in the LGBT community can help transgender people to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Mindfulness and Alcohol Consumption

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Mindfulness and Alcohol Consumption

Meditation and especially mindfulness exercises are often used to treat issues like depression and anxiety, but studies show that it can also be helpful in reducing alcohol consumption. Mindfulness helps improve focus and reduce distracted, anxious thoughts. People often find that a regular meditation practice can cause a number of positive changes and now it may be used to help people struggling with addiction.

Mindfulness is the practice of taking time out of the day to focus intensely and keep your attention on your breath. Paying attention to your breath either by counting breaths or feeling the sensation of breathing in your stomach or nostrils helps tune out distracted thoughts. When thoughts creep back in you simply notice them and return to your breath.

This type of mindfulness practice can help ease anxiety because our thoughts are often what fuel our emotions. Constant worried thoughts or being unaware of your body can cause you to tense up and build anxiety. Feeling and experiencing your breath helps you focus and relax so that you minimize tension.

Changing Drinking Patterns through Mindfulness

People typically drink alcohol for its mood-altering properties. Alcohol makes it easier to connect with people, relax and enjoy the present moment. For problem drinkers however, alcohol becomes something they rely on to alleviate their anxiety and they use it as a form of self-medication for greater underlying problems.

Heavy drinkers often consume a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time and drink habitually rather than being fully conscious of their behavior. Practicing mindfulness will not only reduce some of the anxiety that drives them to drink, it can also make them more aware of their habits instead of being on autopilot all the time. Problem drinkers may not even keep track or remember how many drinks they have had until they have reached a point of excess.

A practice of mindfulness can extend into your daily life and make you more aware of your actions. It can make people more conscious of their habits and less likely to engage in impulsive behaviors. For problem drinkers, mindfulness can have a positive impact on their drinking patterns.

Study of Alcohol and Mindfulness

One study took 68 heavy drinkers and provided mindfulness training to half of them while the other half were taught relaxation techniques. Those who received mindfulness training did not know what the training was called but were simply taught to pay more attention to sensations instead of pushing them away. Those with relaxation training were taught to calm the mind and body and avoid tensing their muscles.

Every drinker in the study was taught to employ whichever technique they were taught whenever they experienced a craving to drink. After a week, those that used mindfulness techniques drank 9.3 fewer units of alcohol than the week before the experiment. Those that used relaxation techniques showed no significant difference in their drinking.

This short term study highlighted the immediate impact that mindfulness techniques can have on a person’s drinking habits. People looking to moderate or quit their alcohol consumption can benefit from using mindfulness.

Mindfulness practices works to reduce alcohol cravings because it provides people an opportunity to break a habitual cycle. It helps people replace one habit with another so that instead of drinking in times of stress, they instead use mindfulness as a coping mechanism. Participants in the study were able to become more aware of cravings and stop themselves from automatically reaching for a drink.

Starting a Mindfulness Practice

For people with a physical dependency on alcohol, mindfulness may not be enough to end their addiction. However, for people who drink heavily and would like to cut back or those who are already in a treatment program, mindfulness can be a useful tool in fighting cravings. You do not necessarily need formal training to begin practicing mindfulness, it is something you can do at home on a regular basis to see positive results.

To practice mindfulness you can find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted and can set aside 10 or 15 minutes to sit. You can sit comfortably and focus on your natural breathing as it goes in and out. Anytime your mind wanders you gently bring it back to the breath.

The key to mindfulness is not judging yourself if your thoughts wander off or you find yourself distracted. The goal is to simply observe your thoughts and bring them back to your breath every time you notice them. The more you become aware of your thoughts the more you can build up your focus over time.

Mindfulness can be a helpful practice to incorporate into your daily routine whether you are trying to cut down on drinking, reduce anxiety or simply handle stress from work. It has both short term and long term benefits that can produce a lot of positive change with regular practice.

How Big A Role Does Alcohol Abuse Play In Domestic Abuse

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by admin No Comments

How Big A Role Does Alcohol Abuse Play In Domestic Abuse

There is no denying when looking at statistics that there is a definite connection between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Any type of violence in the home is often accompanied by excessive drinking of heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time. Although the two problems usually overlap, it is unclear how big a role alcohol plays in terms of a cause and effect relationship with domestic violence.

Studies have shown that nearly half of all men in batterer intervention programs have substance abuse issues and that these men were eight times more likely to abuse their partner while drinking. However, most experts agree that alcohol is not the sole cause of domestic violence in spite of the obvious link. Both abusers and victims may use alcohol as an excuse for violent behavior but there are other issues which lead to violence in certain individuals.

Alcohol in most cases can make an already bad situation more volatile and ultimately increase the severity and frequency of abusive episodes. Heavy drinking can reduce inhibitions and normal restraint on socially unacceptable behaviors. Basically, already existing violent tendencies in an abuser are exacerbated by alcohol use.

Unfortunately because alcohol can make the situation worse and there is a direct correlation between the violence and drinking, abusive relationships may continue because people involved can easily blame the alcohol. Victims may say that their spouse or family member is only violent when they drink and that their relationship is fine otherwise. Abusers may say that they are not normally violent and that their alcohol use makes them aggressive.

Violent Behavior and Aggressive Tendencies

The reality is that people who abuse their spouse or other familiar members actually carry with them their feelings of aggressiveness and desire to control others even when they are sober. People who are violent often have a sense of entitlement and hostility that causes them to engage in abusive behavior. Alcohol can simply bring these existing traits to the surface because it reduces inhibitions and gives them an excuse that they can blame for their actions.

Taking alcohol out of the picture may improve the situation but in most cases sober batterers are still facing the same issues that causes them to hurt others. Some abusers may find that treating their alcohol addiction sparks a transformation in them that helps them quit their violent actions, but this is actually fairly rare. Sobriety alone is not enough to end the cycle of abuse for most people.

In order to end their abusive tendencies, batterers must examine their desire to control others and have power in their relationships. Research shows that people with abusive tendencies tend to turn violent when they feel they have lost control. With treatment and effort to reform their behavior, abusers may be able to get over their issues with control.

The Cycle of Alcohol and Abuse

People who abuse family members usually learn this type of behavior early in childhood. They may have witnessed domestic violence in their own home, been a victim themselves or understood violence as a means of keeping the family under control. There are certain stressful events that can trigger this violence in adulthood such as economic and financial problems or life changes such an illness in a family member.

Once violence begins it becomes a cycle that is difficult to escape especially if alcohol is involved. Abusers may feel that it is the only way that they can maintain control of their spouse or their family. If they have an addiction they may turn violent if someone asks them to quit drinking.

It can be especially difficult for victims to leave an abusive relationship as they are being mentally controlled by their abuser. They may fear that they will be brutally punished for any attempt to leave the situation or assert themselves. Efforts to leave can make the abuser double down on their violent behavior because it will leave them feeling insecure and out of control.

Ending Domestic Abuse

Unfortunately, many victims may find it easier to stay in an abusive relationship than make any attempt to leave. They have become adjusted to the cycle of abuse and continue to make excuses for their violent partner. It is important to understand that alcohol is not the reason for the abuse and the batterer in most cases will not change their behavior.

Anyone coping with an abusive relationship should seek help from any available resources for battered people including shelters, crisis hotlines, and emergency services. Domestic violence programs can help people get out of dangerous relationships safely by providing counseling and even legal help for victims.

Batterers who want to end their own cycle of abuse and control can seek help from support groups and treatment programs.

Serenity Malibu rehab is a luxury addiction treatment center located in beautiful Malibu, California.
(424) 835-6094
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